There is an interesting review of a new book, "The Dangerous Rise of Therapeutic Education" by Kathryn Ecclestone and Dennis Hayes, (Routledge 2009. £18.99. ISBN 978-0415397018). The reviewer observes:
The emphasis on often ill-defined concepts such as ‘emotional literacy’, ‘emotional intelligence’, ‘emotional well-being’ and ‘self-esteem’ has encouraged a preoccupation with self which in turn has had a paralysing effect on human initiative and enterprise. Kathryn Ecclestone and Dennis Hayes argue that ‘therapeutic education is turning children, young people and adults into anxious and self-preoccupied individuals rather than aspiring, optimistic and resilient learners’ with a desire to pursue truth, master a difficult subject or learn a new skill.and there is an important warning:
‘Old forms of support’ such as family, friends, churches, and other community groups are no longer viewed as reliable sources of help, and families tend to be treated with particular suspicion and are frequently regarded as part of the problem rather than the solution. As an example of how parents are undermined by embedding ‘social and emotional aspects of learning’ into the curriculum, reference is made to the introduction of a ‘feelings tree’ in primary school. The purpose is ostensibly to encourage children to articulate their emotions, yet more ominously staff testify to its usefulness in enabling them to ‘dig into the home lives of the children’.Denis Hayes will be addressing the AGM and conference of Family and Youth Concern on Saturday 13 June 2009. See the FYC website for further details so join up now if you would like to go.